Thursday, January 14, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back Joy Avery Melville!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Joy Avery Melville! 


Linda: Welcome to my blog! Congratulations on your latest release, Sown in Peace. It sounds fantastic. Where did you get your inspiration for the story? 

Joy: Like one of my other novels, it came via a newscast – an interview with some returning vets from Afghanistan. 

LM: The book is the first in a series. Can you tell us what to expect in future books? Will the stories feature the same characters? 

Joy: I’ll include all of the cast from Sown In Peace – next one will be title Steadfast In Peace... one of the characters carrying the subplot in Sown will be the heroine in Steadfast. 

LM: Your characters have unusual professions: soldier and retired military dog handler. What sort of research did you have to do to learn about his job? 

Joy: First I did some extensive reading about Military Working Dogs, Therapy Dogs, but then God
gifted me with wounded warriors, who have had PTSD and have been blessed by having pet dogs tune into their specific needs and have turned themselves into Therapy Dogs. 

LM: You are also a freelance editor. How do you turn off your internal editor when you write? Or do you? 
 
Joy: I don’t at first. As my characters drive the story forward, I get caught up in them, the setting, the actual chronological movement of the novel itself. Going back through it, I realize, I’d definitely turned off that internal editor. lol 

LM: Here are some quickies: 

Joy:
Favorite childhood book: Light From Heaven (not a book for children by far – but it truly touched my heart) 

Favorite Bible verse: Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” I love the NASB translation because it’s as though God breathed it into Scripture just for me ~ “QUIT STRIVING and know I am God.” 

Favorite place to vacation: Joy: A cabin in northern Michigan during AUTUMN – cold enough for a fire in a stone fireplace with indoor plumbing and a microwave as well as a good working stove/oven.
 
LM: What other projects are on the docket for you this year? 

Joy: I’m working on edits/revisions to Kept For Her – book 2 in my Intended For Her Series – THEN – I get to start writing Steadfast In Peace – book 2 in my Operation Return To Peace Series. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Joy: 
Email:  joyjournaling@gmail.com 

About Sown in Peace

How much can one wounded soul take?
 

Victoria (Tori) Archer has the heart of a soldier. Taken down by an IED during her fourth deployment, she’s permanently separated from her military career and left with physical scars as well as PTSD. Moving back to her hometown of Three Rivers, Michigan, she’s forced by circumstances to live with an irascible and unsympathetic aunt. Tori’s battle with pain, horrific memories, and loss of independence creates a deep yearning for peace. Will God grant her even a small measure of it? 

Retired Military Dog Handler Griffin (Griff) McKay turns to training dogs at his farm for wounded warrior therapy, desiring to bring former military men and women emotional and mental healing. Implementing his plan proves to be more difficult than visualized with the arrival of one stubborn soldier. Why has God placed that particular warrior in his path? 
 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Traveling Tuesday: Green Bay, Wisconsin in the Early Days

Traveling Tuesday: Green Bay, Wisconsin in the Early Days 


What do you think of when you think of Wisconsin? Milk? Cheese? Lakes? Football? When I decided to set my upcoming release Vanessa’s Replacement Valentine in Green Bay, I knew I had my work cut out for me. What I knew about the state fit on the head of a pin. Join me for a virtual trip to this fascinating and beautiful area of the United States. 
 
Located at the mouth of the Fox River, Green Bay is considered a sub-basin to Lake Michigan. Because of the water and rich soil, the area is abundant in fish, waterfowl, and wildlife. Native Americans lived in this area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European explorers. 

The earliest documented contact between the Native Americans was in 1634 when Frenchman Jean
Nicolet came. Twenty years later fur traders Pierre Esprit Radisson and Medart Grosellieres arrived followed by missionaries Claude Allouez and Jacques Marquette. Another century would pass before the first permanent white settlers, the de Langlade family, set up their home. Unfortunately for them, a short time later the British defeated the French and took control of the area until 1783 when the Americans won control in the American Revolution. 
 
Fort Howard was built in 1816 to guard the entrance to the state, and a community quickly grew up around the fortress. With its diverse geography, the state attracted immigrants from the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Eastern and Western Europe. Wisconsin’s first newspaper, the Green Bay Intelligencer was founded in 1833. Created in 1838, the borough of Green Bay is the center of the present-day city which was incorporated in 1854. 

Green Bay’s early history was dominated by the fur trade, but after gaining statehood in 1848, there was a shift toward lumbering. The population grew exponentially with census records showing 2,275 inhabitants in 1860, 4,666 in 1870, and 7,464 in 1880 (which is larger than my village here in New Hampshire). By the turn of the century, there were nearly twenty thousand residents of the city. 
 
In 1871, great fires encompassed Brown County and the surrounding counties of Door, Oconto, Shawano, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc kill at least one thousand people and rendering thousands more homeless and destitute. Contributions of money, food, clothing, and tools came from all over the world. 
 
Trains displaced steamboats as the main form of transportation during the 1870s, and the city became a manufacturing hub with five iron furnaces, and numerous lumber and paper mills. In addition, the
marshes along the bay consisted of huge beds of wild rice and wild celery that attracted large numbers of waterfowl. Men known as market hunters paddled through the marshes and flats hunting the birds which were sold to local meat markets as well as Milwaukee and Chicago. 
 
Do you find it surprising that Green Bay was such a hotbed of industry? 

____________________________

About Vanessa's Replacement Valentine (releasing February 10, 2021, and now available for pre-order):

She’s running toward the future. He can’t let go of the past. Will these two hurting souls experience love in the present? 
 
Engaged to be married as part of a plan to regain the wealth her family lost during the War Between the States, Vanessa Randolph finds her fiancĂ© in the arms of another woman weeks before the wedding. Money holds no allure for her, so rather than allow her parents to set her up with another rich bachelor she decides to become a mail-order bride. Life in Green Bay, Wisconsin seems to hold all the pieces of a fresh start until she discovers her prospective groom was a Union spy and targeted her parents during one of his investigations. Is her heart safe with any man? 
 
Eight years have elapsed since the Civil War ended, and Miles Andersen has almost managed to put the memories of those difficult years behind him. He’s finally ready to settle down, but the women in town are only interested in his money. A mail-order bride seems to be the answer until the woman who arrives brings the past crashing into the present. 
 
Can two wounded hearts find healing in the face of doubt, disappointment, and distrust? 

Vanessa’s Replacement Valentine: A Christian Mail-Order Bride Romance is a heartwarming addition to the Brides of Pelican Rapids and easily read as a standalone.

Pre-order Link: https://amzn.to/3sbWfts

Friday, January 8, 2021

Fiction Friday: New Releases for January

Fiction Friday: New Releases for January 

Check out these Christian and Clean-n-wholesome books coming out in January. Grab your copies today! You can find more in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website
Contemporary:

A Future for His Twins by Susanne Dietze -- Will these children get their greatest wish? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

For the Love of Joy by Janet W. Ferguson -- When she’s suddenly injured with not a soul to help her or her son, Joy is forced to rely on the man who has the most reasons to hate her. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) 

An Unexpected Arrangement by Heidi McCahan -- He needed a fresh start, but twin babies weren’t part of the plan... (Contemporary Romance, Love Inspired [Harlequin])

An Unlikely Proposal by Toni Shiloh -- For these two best friends, marriage could be their greatest test yet. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

 
Historical:

All Through the Night by Tara Johnson -- When Joshua and Cadence unearth the workings of a secret society so vile, the course of their lives, and the war, could be altered forever. If they fight an enemy they cannot see, will the One who sees all show them the way in the darkest night? (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

  Books Afloat by Delores Topliff -- Blaming herself for her childhood role in the Oklahoma farm truck accident that cost her grandfather’s life, Anne Mettles is determined to make her life count. Will she go it alone? Or will she team with the unlikely but (mostly) lovable characters? One is a saboteur, one an unlikely hero, and one, she discovers, is the man of her dreams. (Historical from Mantle Rock Publishing) 


Night Bird Calling by Cathy Gohlke -- With war brewing for the nation and for her newfound community, Lilliana must overcome a hard truth voiced by her young friend Celia: Wishing comes easy. Change don’t. (Historical from Tyndale House)

 
Mystery:

One for the Road by Mary Ellis -- Staying at an estranged relative’s B&B, Jill’s plan to uncover what makes the state’s bourbon tours so popular goes awry when she discovers a body at one of the distilleries and quickly becomes a suspect in a brutal murder. Can she navigate high-stakes bourbon rivalries, centuries-old family feuds and an ill-fated romance to catch a killer? (Cozy Mystery from Severn House)

 
Romantic Suspense:

Texas Witness Threat by Cate Nolan -- What do you do when you know you witnessed a crime and no one believes you, but the killers are still coming for you? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

 
Thriller/Suspense:

Every Good Plan by Urcelia Teixeira -- Good fortune was always his best friend. Until it became his enemy! Adam Cross is back in another gripping Christian Suspense that will have you strapped to your favorite reading chair until you turn the very last page! (Thriller/Suspense, Independently published)

 
Young Adult:
Heart of the Crown by Hannah Currie -- The last place Lady Wenderley Davis ever expected to find herself after swearing off princes forever was living in a palace with two of them. Even if it is only temporary. And she did agree to it. Kind of. Against her better judgment. (Young Adult from WhiteFire Publishing)   




Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Penelope Pumpernickel: Precocious Problem-Solver by MaryAnn Diorio - In this first of the delightful Penelope Pumpernickel Series of chapters books for six-to-ten-year-old children, Penelope Pympernickel learns that no matter how big a problem you face, there is always a way to solve it with God's help. (Children’s) 

The Inn at Cranberry Cove by June Foster - Can two people allow the majestic northwest and fragrant coastal air heal their wounded hearts? Will they discover the secret of The Inn at Cranberry Cove? (Contemporary Romance) 
 
The Rancher’s Family Secret by Myra Johnson - Despite their family feud, Spencer Navarro is determined to help his neighbor, Lindsey McClement, when she comes home to save her family ranch. And Lindsey returns the favor by allowing him to house his foster rescue horses in her empty barn stalls. But when the generations-long strife threatens their forbidden friendship, Spencer must choose between a new love and his family. (Contemporary Romance) 

William’s Cry, An Enid Gilchrist Mystery by Sylvia Anne Nash - When genealogist Enid Gilchrist is asked to unravel the family mystery surrounding a seventy-year-old baby blanket, she is intrigued. She expects the project to be a short one that will in no wise interfere with her long-awaited marriage to Chief of Police Patrick Mulhaney. When her short project unravels more threads than expected, both project and wedding plans run amuck as someone makes every effort to stop her investigation. (Cozy Mystery)

A Holiday Heart by Denise Weimer - When Ashlyn arrives at White Falls Lodge armed with cosmetic bags and designer shoes, little is she prepared to be stranded by a snowstorm, irritated by the handsome resort owner who seems determined to peel away her facade, and redirected by a God Ashlyn wants to forget, through Mamie Lou’s real gift … the secret story of her grandmother’s past. (Contemporary Romance)

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Michael Gryboski

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Michael Gryboski 

Linda: Welcome to my blog. Congratulations on your latest release Memories of Lasting Shadows. What was the inspiration for the story? 
 
Michael: It began a couple of years ago when people were talking about President Donald Trump and his United States Supreme Court nominees possibly leading to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Most experts believe that if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe, the result would simply be the abortion debate going back to the states rather than a total nationwide ban on the controversial procedure.
 
However, I wanted to explore the extreme possibility. What if the Supreme Court, when striking down Roe, also decided to consider abortion itself to be unconstitutional? More notably, what would our nation look like forty years after that landmark decision was made? So begins the premise of my novel.  
LM: You are also a journalist. How does your approach to writing fiction differ from your nonfiction articles? How is it the same? 
 
Michael: There are considerable differences, partly because the formats are different. Most of my news articles are between 400 and 800 words long. My novels are tens of thousands of words long. My news articles usually include embedded links and me formatting things like related stories and selection and placement of photos. For my novels, my publishers are the ones who oversee format and imagery. 
 
Still, with both, I have to be scrupulous in what I say and how I convey ideas and perspectives. I strive to have qualitative work that can effectively convey important information and concepts to a general adult reading public. Factual accuracy is an important point for both as well, though obviously more important with news articles, where fewer liberties with the facts are tolerated. 
 
LM: What sort of research was required to prepare you to write the story, and did you find any tidbit(s) you knew you had to include? 
 
Michael: For the premise, I drew from my own academic knowledge of American history, having
earned a master’s in history that specialized in the South after the American Civil War. 
 
A key focus of my studies was popular cultural historical memory and the distortions thereof, as well as the debates over how history is taught in public schools. 
 
For the hypothetical future decision overturning Roe, I modeled the fallout from the actual Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education. The 1954 decision to strike down institutional racial segregation was met with great resistance when it was first issued, with several states and school boards refusing to enforce it. However, forty years later, which in this case would be 1994, support for institutional racial segregation was virtually nonexistent. 
 
As for tidbits, tracking modern debates over monuments and schools named for Confederate soldiers and segregationists was a key influencer on a subplot of the story. 
 
LM: Tell us a bit about your journey to publication and what lessons you learned along the way.

Michael: It was one of upheaval. From the early 2000s to 2014, I wrote the occasional book-length manuscript, but struggled to find any publisher who would print my work. In 2014, I finally had my first novel published by a small California-based publisher named Inknbeans Press. Through them, I had seven novels released. 
 
However, Inknbeans closed down at the end of 2017, throwing my work out of print and compelling me to spend several months looking for new publishers for my work. Thankfully, I ended up finding three small publishers who have released various books of mine since 2018. They are BOCH Publishing, Jan-Carol Publishing, and Ambassador International. 
 
Memories of Lasting Shadows
was the second book of mine released by Ambassador International, the first being A Spiral Into Marvelous Light. The biggest lesson I learned through all of this is that rejection is normal. No’s vastly outnumber yeses. However, yeses have greater power and thus vastly outweigh all the no’s. Also, be aggressive. Do not wait for a publisher to get back to you before querying another. Send out as many queries as you can at once. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. 
 
LM: Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for writing your stories? (e.g., listen to music, go for a run, etc.) 
 
Michael: Oftentimes, I play a game of chess on my laptop to stimulate my mind. Sometimes, I will have a specific song, religious or secular, that spurs me to focus on a given story I am working on. 
 
For example, with A Spiral Into Marvelous Light, I would get into the mentality of working on it by listening to Squire Parson’s rendition of “Beulah Land” and/or John Starnes’ rendition of “Midnight Cry.” Going on walks help, too. 

Walks are something I do to think through plot developments, dialogue, etc. Admittedly, there are times when I am going through the dialogue in my head while walking and I might mouth the words, possibly making any observant pedestrian conclude that I am a few ships short of an armada. 
 
LM: What is one piece of advice you can offer to fledgling writers? 

Michael: I have many pieces of advice. 

Know where you are going. Have your ending in mind before you start writing. Do not try to make it up as you go along or else you will find all sorts of frustrating errors. 
 
Do not trust your ability to edit. Make sure someone else sees your work first, especially someone willing and able to offer constructive critical feedback. 
 
Do your best to write for a bigger audience. Just because you like it, does not mean others will. Think about what others may want to see in your story. 
 
Do not be surprised if your first finished manuscript is garbage. It is likely going to be more of a
learning experience than a genuine classic in the making. As proud as I was of it as a teenager, in the present day I would never want to see my first finished manuscript published. A part of me wants to destroy the last remaining copies, just in case. 
 
Do not take this lightly. Realize that you will be devoting a lot of time to this, the writing and the editing. Then, unless you have some special connections, a lot of time finding a publisher. Even after the manuscript is published, unless you get a big publisher to release your work, you will need to do a lot of the promotion … that is, if you want to succeed. 

LM: Here are some quickies … Lakes or Mountains for vacation. 

Michael: Neither. I prefer staycations or the annual family beach trip. And the latter I only like because it is with family. 

LM: Dog or cat as a pet. 

Michael: I have had both and saw the ups and downs of both. At this point, though, the answer is neither. It was a lot easier to have pets when my mother was paying all the vet bills. 

LM: Movies or reading as a pastime: 

Michael: Movies. Especially ones from the twentieth century. 
 
LM: What is your next project? 

Michael: For Jan-Carol Publishing, I annually write installments for a suspense/mystery novel series titled Carla. Part three, Carla: The End of Reason, was released last September. Soon, I will be working on editing and finalizing part four, slated for release this coming fall. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Michael: They can find me at these social media links:

________________________

About Memories of Lasting Shadows
: It has been forty years since the United States of America abolished abortion. The long debate, which brought so much division and discord, was finally brought to an end, and two generations of citizens have reached maturity in this new normal. 

United States Senator Benjamin Pettus was alive when choice was the law of the land. A doctor by profession, over the past several years, he has struggled to preserve a sweeping federal healthcare law he helped create. 

Roberta Sheridan was born and raised in a world where terminating an unborn child is both illegal and unthinkable. A devout Christian and principled journalist, Roberta is about to discover that the past is never truly gone.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/37rbZRj